American Explorer Series

Oklahoma & the Texas Panhandle

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by Simon Thompson

Spring in the Southern Great Plains

May 22-31, 2022

Black-capped Vireo by Michael McCloy

Register by clicking the ‘book now’ button above, or by contacting the Ventures office. We accept credit cards for an additional fee (2.9% for MC, Visa, Discover; 3.9% for AmEx), but you may also pay by bank transfer, cash, check, or money order. This Venture is limited to 9 participants.

Price of Oklahoma & Texas Venture: $3,195 based on double occupancy, from Oklahoma City, OK. $625 - single supplement Price includes: Van transportation, accommodations, meals, admission fees, information packet & bird checklist, and guide/leader service throughout Not included: Airfare to/from Oklahoma City, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, laundry and items of a personal nature

Come and join us for this new 9-day trip in the southern Great Plains! Frequently regarded as one of the most under-birded states in the US, Oklahoma contains parts of six different Bird Conservation Regions and ten different major ecotypes within its borders. This diverse landscape, coupled with a strategic location along the central flyway, makes it home to a large number of migrant and breeding bird species. The last week of May is an optimal time of year to visit this area, with breeding birds having arrived but many shorebird and waterbird migrants still making their way north.

This tour will start and end in Oklahoma City. After arriving, we will work our way west through a mixture of wetlands, lakes, prairies, and rocky juniper shrubland which supports the federally endangered Black-capped Vireo! The westernmost point of our loop will be Black Mesa - the highest point in the state and home to a number of western breeding species such as Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, and Canyon Wren. On our way, we cut through the Texas Panhandle where we spend two days birding and getting some new birds for our Texas state lists. Later on, we will also cross the border into southern Kansas for a quick stop at the famous migrant trap that is the Elkhart Cemetery. We then work our way back to Oklahoma City via several lakes, wetlands, and National Wildlife Refuges, focusing on picking up any remaining species that we are missing by that point.

This is an excellent tour to explore an under-appreciated, yet ecologically significant, part of the country. We should end up with a healthy species list for this tour, including a variety of eastern and western species whose ranges “meet” in the region we’ll be visiting. This is also a great tour if you are interested in working on your state lists, for although we will be spending most of our time in Oklahoma we will also spend some time in the Texas Panhandle as well as extreme southern Kansas.

Some of the birds we hope to see: In addition to a rich variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, waders, gulls, and terns, we’ll focus on finding a number of western and southwestern specialties such as Scaled Quail, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Burrowing Owl, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Say’s Phoebe, Cassin’s Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Chihuahuan Raven, Common Raven, Black-billed Magpie, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Black-capped Vireo, Black-crested Titmouse, Bushtit, Curve-billed Thrasher, Bewick’s Wren, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Cassin’s Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow. We should also see Mississippi Kite, Painted Bunting, and a selection of migrant eastern (and maybe western) songbirds.